Schools Out For Summer

Last Day finally came.

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Many adorable wee children from the neighborhood are suddenly growing up and headed off to Middle School next year.  What has happened here?!  It seems like only yesterday they were cracking me up in the half day kindergarten carpool.  Wow!

So, now that summer is here…

it

is

on!

The Van Meter Summer Reading Challenge that is.  Here is the new poster:

 

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2017 Summer Family Reading Challenge

Yay!

I’ll try to report back, maybe their will be an upset this year and my daughter won’t mop the floor with the rest of us like last year🙂

img_0091 Daughter was the rainbow, poptart cat (yep, that’s totally a thing).

Hub was that nice inconspicuous A-Team van… you know,  say you’re a crack commando unit, framed for a crime you didn’t commit and you need lay low after escaping from a maximum security stockade… This van is ideal, especially if you’re averse to flying.  Who needs to fly when you’ve got this sweet ride?!

Alright, I digress, anyway, my son was the DeLorean and my mom (Pa Jane) was a little Harry Potter man, on his little broom.

Mine was the Little House on the Prairie, Schooner.  Quick sidetrack; This spring I dressed up in a Laura Ingalls era dress, (that I’d grabbed out of my mom’s closet) for my chat and chew group – 2nd graders, we were discussing Big Woods… Anyhoo, Ma Ingalls may never have experienced the joy and countless wonders of our modern activewear, but after a couple of hours in her dress, I was definitely ready for some yoga pants.

-and we’re back-

I love the summer reading challenge!  Hub isn’t a big fan, but definitely a good sport… that’s why he gets the short trail:)     Happy Reading Everybody!Image result for posters library books

 

 

 

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Preparing a Place

Sunday I slept through church… attended Bedside Baptist….

That’s a little joke I picked up from college friends,

Hhmmm…Image result for thinking starting to wonder if I wasn’t in the cool crowd…

Image result for you're so square baby i don't care memeIt’s hip, right?!
Usually, I make it.  I just remember the mind body connection:  If your mind can move your feet, just have faith that your bedraggled heart may yet wake up, literally smelling the coffee with any luck.

… I’ll save the rest of my profound thoughts on that for a different post, today I’m more wrapped up in,
Why I love cleaning, and how I balance that with choosing what is best.

I’m Martha, fo sho… as in Mary sat at Jesus’ feet, but her sister Martha glared at them while she finished melodramatically unloading the dishwasher.
Sometimes it’s just not easy to choose what is best. I try to be mindful of this as I embrace my gifting for service .

Part of the joy of cleaning for me is in the idea of preparing a place.
In fact , I almost think that Summer is finally catching it’s train, because I prepared a place for Fall.

After the Screened Porch Fall Clean out.  It's not exactly Better Homes and Gardens, but I'll take it.
After the Screened Porch Fall Clean out. It’s not exactly Better Homes and Gardens, but I’ll take it.

With girls heading here to s’more it up at the Van Meters, I kissed the Indian summer goodbye by dragging small plastic pools, squirt guns and the water wiggle hose back to their waiting spot in the storage room.

No more water wiggle hose b-ball or trampoline… no more kids hiding in the bushes with squirt guns and running barefoot to plastic pools to fill them amid shrieks and flying beach balls and no more flavor ice in the freezer, because even the freezer gets to make room… bags of pumpkin chocolate chip cookies and lunch ice packs are already moving in.

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I don’t know how many of these Halcyon summers we have left, and I should let that wash over… I guess… as I bustle by inhaling the coming season and letting go of each failed goal of summer.

Even though S’more night was still 90 degrees, I’m glad I did some clearing around the screened porch and patio.  I opened up a place to peck away with Windows 7, a place for Bedside Baptist to meet, for painting and reading… and counting spiders:)

Also, The s’more fire needed a bit of help and the girls needed a place on the dining room wall for post its with their ideas for service projects.

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Retiring our summer reading solved both problems.

Seasons change and we get to make room or let it pile on, but we don’t get to stop it.

Summers Coming!!

Countdown to Summer is on! I think my kiddos have about 8 school days left, woo hoo!

This is the time when I like to start thinking about goals and ideas, things I want to intentionally get on top of with my kids, during this time.  I love the shake up in our schedule, it’s always new and full of possibilities.

Last summer we did a family reading challenge.  Which we’re definitely going to fire up again, it was pretty easy and fun.

First Thing:  Make a Poster and hang it in a prominent location in your home.

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For ours, I looked at some summer reading posters online for inspiration.  I found some cute clip art Popsicles and then got out the sharpies and copied a mashup of all my favorite ideas.

Then the plan was for each of us to fill in our Popsicle as we finished new books.  If your not a weird parent who loves to draw and color, like myself, have the kids make something.

Step 2:  Stock your place with piles of enticing and delightful books!

Whenever you need a little space… it’s silent reading time!  It’s a win win for everybody!

I searched online through various reading lists from all over and wrote down the ones that had reasonable parent reviews (I check common sense media or amazon.)  I also look at the reading level and go for a mix of challenge and freebie.  Then I just add them to my holds list from the public library, so I could run in and grab a pile every week or so, even if we were rocking a busy schedule and didn’t always have the time to troll up and down the aisles.

Step 3:  Have fun reading and adding titles to your poster!  This year, whatever we do will be bigger, ours was on an 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of typing paper:(

We ended up writing super tiny.

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Last Step:  When summer ends, look back with satisfaction.

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I needed to hide mine because the kids mopped the floor with us and wouldn’t stop busting our chops about it.

I love kids.

 

 

Happy to be Stuck with You

Hub just turned 40, it’s pretty exciting!  A group of Hub’s college roommates came together to celebrate this milestone with him and a birthday buddy.

There was a  table covered with photos, some of Hub and Birthday Buddy’s 20th birthday party, some of college friends backpacking together or dressed crazy for one theme party or another.

It’s a bit surreal to think that my babies are closer in age to me, in those pictures, than I am.

I felt a little bit, “you may find yourself, behind the wheel of a large automobile…”

“And you may ask yourself-Well…How did I get here?”

I guess it started with meeting my husband,

I was a freshman in college, when I met Hub.Image result for Chris O'Donnell

We were involved in the same campus ministry and I ended up moving into a house a couple doors down from him the next year.  We both had tons of roomies,  Hub had already dated about a quarter of mine.  When we started hanging out a lot, I decided that a D.T.R. was a good idea, you know, the conversation where you Define The Relationship:

IMG_6051that way, things are not awkward at all.

 

We were good friends, and I was still looking for excitement and romance.  Like a lot of nineteen year old girls, I overlooked cute guys down the street who were dependable, nice guys and continued to search out the kind of guy who just maybe… becomes Darth Vader in the next movie….  or is a vampire, perfect!

At some point I ran across a list of ideal husband traits that I’d jotted in the back of a journal.  I love making lists like that and, in a surprising turn of events, Hub matched everything that I’d written… to a tee.  I took another look at Hub and realized that I was happier spending time with him than I was pursuing actual interesting boys!

After going back to the helpful reading material in our house…

 

I knew just what to do, old-school stalking.  Just know where they’ll be and pop out of the bushes, make sure to look really nice and act cool.  I must have nailed it, because… eventually, I wore him down.

Now we have about 15 years of married life in the rear-view of that large automobile.  Saying yes was one of the best decisions that I ever made.  It’s not always a Christian Romance Novel, but it’s pretty great!

Happy Birthday Hub!  Thanks for being so awesome!